Edible Flower Shortbread Cookies & Shibori-Dyed Tea Towels for All the Mothers in Your Life


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A note from Maggie

I’m not as crafty as you think. I can certainly tie a pretty bow – though I prefer not to, I like to leave ribbon strands long and not at all crinkly so it can be reused again and again – but I prefer the simplest of gift wrap and kitchen projects, like this stunner from The Young Austinian Katherine Hysmith. Just fold, dip, and hang the prettiest all-naturally dyed towel. Once dried, you’ve got something quite gorgeous. Mom’s going to love it, too.

Clean sink, new tea towel, fresh flowers. These are the three tenets of a good kitchen. Or at least that’s what my mother taught me. Every night before bed, she would make sure the dishes were done, the counters wiped clean, a fresh new towel was gently draped over the oven door, and, if available, the flowers were given a final sip of cold water.

I think her process was part ritual, part logistics: who wants to deal with a dirty kitchen before the first cup of morning coffee? So I follow her rules diligently, even on late nights or when the dishes are piled high, and plan to teach the same to my children.

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My mother’s kitchen philosophy translates even better in gift form. A batch of homemade cookies (no cleanup for the giftee) sprinkled with real, edible flowers, all wrapped up in a new tea towel. Brownie points if that tea towel is hand dyed in natural colors to match her kitchen (and this one is). The perfect little bundle for the woman who held my hand in the kitchen, then let me loose to make my own messes, only to clean it all up again.

I’m an ardent believer in the saying “It takes a village” so be sure to thank all the women in your life this Mother’s Day, whether they’re related to you or not, because everybody loves cookies.

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Notes on shibori-dying

  • You can experiment with shades of color by how long you soak the fabric. Other colors can be achieved through similar methods with things like dried hibiscus (pink), purple cabbage leaves (light purple-blue), or various shades of tan and cream (teas and coffee).
  • Keep in mind that some natural dyes – such as turmeric – could still potentially stain other fabric even after rinsing.

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Notes on the cookies

  • In order to achieve a nice, light-handed, and even glaze, hold the spoon about 8-inches above the cookies when drizzling.
  • But if drizzling isn’t your style, you can also gently dip one side of the cookie into the glaze, letting the excess drip off, and drying glaze-side up for a nice even finish.



Consider these shortbread cookies your blank canvas. Edible flowers – like dried mums, hibiscus, and lavender – serve as delicate watercolor-hued sprinkles and can be tailored to you or your mom’s liking.

Makes: 18 cookies


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange flower water
  • Grated rind from one small orange
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • Dried edible flowers (such as yellow calendula and chamomile, blue cornflower and lavender, and pink hibiscus and rose buds)


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt. While the mixer is on, add the vanilla, orange flower water, and grated rind. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add in the flour, continuing to mix until a sandy dough forms. Turn off the mixer and turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gather into ball and flatten gently with your fingers. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour or overnight.
  2. Set the oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Once the dough is more pliable, gently roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper until about an 1/8-inch thick. Trim the edges with a sharp knife forming a clean rectangle. Using a ruler, trim and cut the rolled dough into smaller rectangles 2-inches wide and 3-inches long. Carefully lift the dough rectangles and transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for 10 minutes. Transfer to the oven, making sure there is a little bit of space between each cookie, and bake until they are set and the edges just barely begin to brown, about 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before glazing.
  5. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and milk until fully combined. The glaze should be smooth and easily fall back off the whisk, roughly the consistency of Elmer’s glue. Using a small spoon, drizzle the glaze back and forth over the cookies. While the glaze is still wet, sprinkle edible flowers over the cookies. Let dry completely before serving or packaging.


  • Cotton tea towels, laundered
  • Small wooden squares
  • Rubber bands or clamps
  • Tongs
  • Large plastic or glass bowl
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground turmeric


  1. Cover your work surface in something that can get stained (such as an old outdoor table cloth or butcher paper). Wear an apron and gloves (the dye, while natural, can stain skin).
  2. In a large stockpot, combine the water and salt and bring to a simmer. Add in the clean tea towels and soak for about 30 minutes. Carefully remove from the pot and rinse under cool water. Hang to dry.
  3. Rinse out the same stockpot and fill with a clean 4 cups of water and the ground turmeric. Bring to just under a boil, then reduce to a simmer and stir. Turn off the heat.
  4. Prepare the fabric. Lay the dry tea towel on a flat surface. Fold in half. And then fold in half again in the same direction. And then fold in half a third time, until you have a long piece of folded cloth. Starting on one short side, fold the fabric to create a small square. Continue to fold, back and forth like an accordion, until the fabric is completely folded on itself. Place a block on either side of the fabric stack and secure firmly in place with a clamp or with several rubber bands.
  5. Using the tongs, gently dip the fabric into the turmeric dye. Be sure to fully submerge the cloth to ensure complete coverage. Using the tongs, carefully lift the towel out of the dye and transfer to a bowl. Undo the binds and remove the wooden pieces. You can now either rinse the fabric until the water runs clear and hang to dry or simply skip the first step and hang dry. The resulting colors will vary and un-rinsed tea towels should be used for decoration only.
All photos styled and taken by Katherine Hysmith.

Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic StudioFollow Maggie Battista on Instagram.